Ft. Jackson offers new program for Army recruits not meeting requirements

COLUMBIA SC (WOLO) — Fort Jackson is offering a new program for Army recruits who don’t meet the testing or physical requirements to join the Army.

According to the US Army’s website, only about 23% of young Americans fully meet the Army’s eligibility requirements. Instead of lowering standards to join, Fort Jackson has a new program designed to meet recruits where they are and bring them up to the Army’s standards.

The new program is called “The Future Soldier Preparatory Course” and started just around a week ago. Brigadier General Patrick Michaelis says the new program is already showing signs of success.

“But I think we’ve realized that we need to be a part of the solution for society here, not only for the physical fitness side but the academic side in untapping someone’s true potential here and I think this is a great thing for our army and it’s even a greater thing for our nation here that we’re invested in them,” says Brigadier General Michaelis.

The pilot program provides focused academic instruction in math and verbal areas to help recruits pass the Armed Forces Qualification Test.  Most of the 18 2nd Lieutenants who are teaching the courses have backgrounds in education.

Some recruits say they have experienced testing anxiety in the past. Trainees Dewan Hawthorne and Diribe Profitt say this course is helping them conquer the test.

“I’m not really good with taking tests, but the more that they get us prepared and have us focus more, actually getting me better with taking tests, so that way when I do take the actual test I can ace it,” says Hawthorne.

“I’ve always had test anxiety even from when I was a child, only because I didn’t do so well on tests. The timing — oh my goodness! I have a reason, and I have my purpose to be here. I have every right to be here. And I’m excited to be here,” says Profitt.

A physical fitness program is offered for recruits not meeting body fat composition requirements as well. The fitness program focuses on helping recruits meet strength requirements as well as build nutritional well-being and daily structure.

The 90 day course allows academic or fitness recruits to retest every three weeks. If they pass their academic tests and meet the Army’s body fat composition requirements, they move on to basic training.

Approximately 250 recruits are enrolled in the academic course and approximately 100 recruits are enrolled in the physical fitness course.

General Michaelis says if the program becomes permanent, it has the potential to see between 8,000 and 10,000 recruits annually.

Categories: Local News, Midlands Military Matters, National News